Incidents on our Campus

Dear Pomona College Community, 

Yesterday, two unacceptable incidents involving intimidation and conduct intended to physically restrain a student occurred on our campus.

These types of actions disrupt the ability of the College to meet the basic needs of our campus and harm individual members of our community. These and any future incidents of this nature will have consequences for those found to be responsible, including disciplinary steps such as suspension and expulsion.

The first incident began when approximately 30 demonstrators interrupted a private Admissions Office event arranged for high school counselors in Estella Laboratory. The protesting students read a statement, held up red-painted hands and disrupted a panel. 

A social media account then published online the name of one of the visiting counselors, who had asked the protestors why they were wearing masks. Afterward, the counselor reported being repeatedly subjected to abusive and harassing online behavior aimed at their professional reputation, including registering the individual’s work email on pornographic and other extremely disturbing websites. This action was clearly designed to punish the visitor to our campus for their inquiry, while sending a message to others who would engage in speech that was not in strict conformity with the protestors’ goal. This cyberbullying is reprehensible.

These serious incidents of doxxing are being investigated under our established judicial process. We all have seen the harm and fear brought on by doxxing nationwide, and I find it deeply troubling that this form of intimidation is now directed at a visitor to our own community.

The second incident took place later the same day, after dozens of students shut down Frary Dining Hall from the opening of dinner until the scheduled close of the hall. While demonstrators were obstructing access to the dining hall, a student who tried to move past the demonstrators was blocked and grabbed in an incident documented on video. Physical contact of this nature is never acceptable and will be investigated under our judicial procedures as well.

It is also unacceptable under our demonstration policies that access to the building was blocked, which in this case forced hundreds of students to find somewhere else to eat and led to hundreds of pounds of food going to waste.

We live in tumultuous times, and the Board of Trustees and I support the right of all members of our community to protest in ways that are consistent with college policies. However, when such protest disrupts the normal operations of the College, or worse still, puts others in danger, we will take action to ensure that Pomona is a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

We will be coordinating with other Claremont Colleges as we conduct a full investigation of Friday’s incidents. Beyond individuals, any campus organizations found to be involved may be subject to disciplinary action, in accordance with our judicial processes.

Now and in the semesters ahead, we expect every member of our community to follow our conduct standards to foster an atmosphere of respect, open dialogue and intellectual engagement. I and other administrators have repeatedly offered to meet when protestors have come to Alexander Hall, but these offers have been refused. I remain open to dialogue with students.

I ask that all members of our community treat each other with compassion and respect, even when we sharply disagree on issues. I am saddened that the actions of some members of our community are so out of line with the values we hold as a College. We must do better.



G. Gabrielle Starr
President, Pomona College

Phillip C. and Gertrude L. McConnell Professor
Departments of English and Neuroscience